Treatment of type 1 diabetes – modern methods

Type 1 diabetes is a common chronic disease characterized by impaired insulin production by the body and subsequent surges in blood sugar levels. Medicine still cannot give an exact answer to the question of what exactly causes type 1 diabetes. There are several scientific hypotheses.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by a lack or deficiency of the pancreatic hormone insulin. People suffering from this problem have constant jumps in blood sugar levels, which is explained by the uneven flow of insulin into the body (otherwise it is called hyperglycemia). When diabetes occurs, a person’s metabolism in the body is disrupted. Most of the food entering the body simply does not turn into energy. The food that passes through the digestive tract undergoes a process of breaking down into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream. After the sugar reaches the bloodstream, insulin stimulates the cells to convert the resulting glucose into energy. The development of diabetes mellitus occurs if: 

  • the body does not produce enough insulin;
  • cells partially or completely lose the ability to convert insulin into energy and use it to regulate blood sugar.

The pancreas is the organ in which insulin is produced. It consists of “islets”, that is, cells of the endocrine system. These islets contain beta cells, which are responsible for the production and release of insulin into the bloodstream. When the work of beta cells is disrupted and they do not produce enough insulin (or the body has no reaction to it), sugar (glucose) instead of being absorbed by the body gradually accumulates, which in the future, in the absence of timely treatment, leads to the development of diabetes mellitus or prediabetes . The latter is a condition where the level of HB A1C or blood sugar is high. If you do not take any measures to treat diabetes, high sugar levels will negatively affect blood vessels, nerve cells, which will soon lead to stroke, blindness, heart and dental diseases, and forced amputation of limbs. Developed diabetes mellitus greatly reduces the functions of the immune system, provokes depressive conditions, impairs the mobility of the lower extremities, complicates pregnancy: unpleasant symptoms (toxicosis, diarrhea, etc.) become more pronounced, problems arise with the development of the fetus.

Most scientists are inclined to the option that the main reason is still a combination of several factors (ecology and genetic predisposition).

There are 1 and 2 types of this disease in the world. There is also gestational diabetes, which occurs in pregnant women. There are several more types of diabetes mellitus, however, the reason for their appearance is almost always associated with abnormalities in gene structures, the use of specific chemicals, pancreatic diseases, and the like. Some people experience symptoms of 2 main types of the disease at the same time.

Type 1 diabetes: causes

The main cause of type 1 diabetes is the destruction of beta cells and, therefore, partial or complete absence of insulin in the blood, which is necessary to regulate blood sugar levels. Due to disturbances in the body, the immune system, instead of protecting the beta cells, destroys them. The human immune system protects the body from viruses, infections or pathogens that can cause serious illness. However, when a patient suffers from autoimmune diseases, the immune system is impaired and it attacks healthy cells.

Type 1 diabetes can develop over the years (beta cells are destroyed gradually, not immediately). However, the symptoms of this disease are observed almost immediately.

The most common type 1 diabetes affects children and adolescents. But this does not mean that the disease does not occur in older people. Diabetes-LADA (latent autoimmune disease) is more common in patients over 28 years of age. It tends to become more active, which causes type 1 diabetes.


Most diabetologists say that the main cause of the development of this disease is genetics. Type 1 diabetes has the ability to be inherited. Usually the first signs appear in childhood or adolescence, but this often occurs after 20-30 years. Therefore, treatment of diabetes caused by a genetic predisposition is not possible. Usually, therapy implies constant monitoring of sugar and regular implementation of preventive measures.

Diseases of the pancreas

People with pancreatic diseases are in a special risk zone. Pancreatitis, cancer, pathology of the endocrine glands lead to the development of diabetes. An indirect cause is disturbances in the work of the gastrointestinal tract. They slow down metabolism, impair digestion, provoking rapid weight gain. Obesity is one of the main factors affecting insulin production.

Infectious and viral diseases

By themselves, viruses and infections cannot provoke the development of type 1 diabetes. However, situations are not uncommon when the disease occurs in the background. In addition, according to statistics, diabetes is mainly manifested in winter. During this period, the human immune system is weakened, and it needs an additional source of vitamins. Adenovirus, Coxsackie virus , rubella, cytomegalovirus are those viruses that are possibly associated with the development of diabetes mellitus.

Other reasons

In medicine, other reasons for the development of diabetes are considered:

  • bad ecology;
  • lack of vitamin D;
  • endocrine system diseases;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • chronic stress;
  • chronic insufficiency of the adrenal cortex;
  • taking drugs from the group of corticosteroids, cytostatics , diuretics, etc.

Lack of minimal physical activity during the day, walking in the fresh air, constant eating in large quantities (in other words, overeating), the presence of bad habits – all this can trigger the development of type 2 diabetes. If a person is under the open sun for many hours every day (especially in hot weather), he, of course, receives the necessary amount of vitamin D, but this point has its pitfalls. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays leads to the fact that body tissues gradually stop responding to insulin. As a result, sharp jumps in blood sugar begin.

Diabetes types 1 and 2: differences

Different types of diabetes have different clinical features. Let’s look at the main differences between type 1 and 2 diabetes:

  1. The reason for the development. Type 1 diabetes in most cases results from poor heredity. The second type is acquired during life under the influence of the factors mentioned earlier. 
  2. Insulin dependence. The first type of diabetes is always insulin dependent. The second type is predominantly non-insulin-dependent , but there are exceptions. 
  3. Recovery. The first type is not amenable to treatment, since in this case the production of insulin completely stops. With the second type, diet and elimination of the underlying cause of the disease is enough to keep sugar levels normal. 
  4. Age. The first symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear in childhood or young age, less often over the age of 30. Type 2 diabetes occurs primarily in men and women over the age of 45. 

Type 1 diabetes symptoms

To alleviate the patient’s condition and avoid serious complications, it is necessary to carefully monitor your health. If you suspect you have type 1 diabetes, it is recommended that you pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • A person often wants to go to the toilet. Often there is frequent urination at night. 
  • Dryness of the surface of the mucous membranes and skin occurs Also, the patient often complains of dry mouth. 
  • Polydipsia is constant thirst. This is how the body signals that the blood should be “diluted” because the blood sugar is at high levels. 
  • Women who suspect type 1 diabetes experience severe itching in the genital area. 
  • Frequent sweating.
  • Sudden weight loss. Due to the fact that cells do not receive the energy they need , they switch to a different diet, namely the “destruction” of proteins, fats, which are required to build tissues. 
  • The need for food increases. Starving cells also need nutrition. 
  • With advanced type 1 diabetes, problems with food intake arise, vision clarity decreases, the work of the lower and upper limbs is disrupted, and blood supply deteriorates.
  • The patient’s state of health worsens: he feels tired, weak, there is no desire to work, there are pains in the muscles. 
  • The patient experiences pain in the abdomen, nausea, bouts of vomiting.
  • The functions of the immune system decrease, as a result of which the body ceases to actively protect a person from the development of various diseases. 

What happens when there is a lack of insulin

Constant fatigue, fatigue is typical for people with type 1 diabetes. The patient wants to sleep, there is absolutely no desire to work. Increased glucose levels negatively affect the condition of the skin: they itch and become covered with boils. At an advanced stage of the disease, a person often develops ketoacidosis , which in no case should be ignored. If you do not consult a doctor in time, the patient falls into a coma, which develops due to constant bouts of nausea, vomiting, dehydration, low blood pressure, and impaired limb function. For people with ketoacidosis , which developed against the background of type 1 diabetes, a specific acetone breath odor is characteristic. That is why you cannot ignore the first symptoms of the disease, you need to immediately seek help from a doctor. It is impossible to delay the treatment of diabetes. The vascular system also suffers from a lack of insulin in the body. There is a negative effect on the walls of blood vessels – they are damaged. In the future, this will lead to angiopathy – a condition in which there is constant coldness of the hands and feet, cramps, trophic ulcers.

Treatment of type 1 diabetes: basic principles

Diabetes is a chronic disease and cannot be treated. Therapy involves the normalization of sugar levels, diet, daily exercise (at least light). You should also keep blood pressure and the level of cholesterol, fibrinogen, protein in the blood under control, and have a glucometer with you to measure glucose. By controlling the level of glucose in the blood, a diabetic almost completely eliminates the risk of problems with the kidneys, heart, eyes, blood vessels, and lower extremities.

Insulin injections

The main solution to relieve a person with type 1 diabetes is to administer insulin injections. Insulin injections and their dosage are prescribed exclusively by a doctor. Each organism is individual, therefore self-medication is prohibited. Injections are administered taking into account the general condition of the person and the time of day. If a person already feels bad in the morning, then an injection is necessary. If everything is fine, then you do not need to apply it. Insulin preparations are divided into several types:

  1. Ultra-short action. The drug acts for 3-5 hours, the hypoglycemic effect develops in 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Short acting. Acts within 6-8 hours, hypoglycemic effect occurs in 30-60 minutes. 
  3. Medium duration. Acts within 8-12 hours, the hypoglycemic effect occurs in 1.5-2 hours. 
  4. Long-term action. They act for 20-30 hours, the effect occurs in 4-8 hours. 

Physical activity

Exercise is considered an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. And for diabetics, they are of particular importance. Every day, a person should do at least a minimum amount of exercise. Effect on the body:

  • When a person does physical exercise, his muscles begin to work, which absorb excess glucose, thereby lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Blood pressure returns to normal.
  • The cells become more sensitive to the insulin produced by the body and supplied from outside.
  • The general condition of a person (both mental and physical) and metabolism improves.

Subject to the necessary rules, physical activity has a positive effect on the body of a person with type 1 diabetes: the risk of diseases associated with blood vessels and heart decreases. When coupled with proper diet and other necessary guidelines, physical activity can help reduce the number of insulin injections and medications taken to lower blood sugar levels. Exercise can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of vascular disease. Therefore, when performing them, regularity and stability are important. Physical therapy helps to improve health in both types of disease. Before starting physical therapy, you need to remember a few simple but important recommendations. Otherwise, uncontrolled physical activity will negatively affect the body and cause hypoglycemia. List of rules that are recommended to be observed during physical activity with type 1 diabetes:

  • Half an hour after swimming, dancing and other strenuous activities, a diabetic should eat a small piece of bread, an apple or something else (1 unit each).
  • Being on a hike for a long time or actively working in the garden, a person needs to lower the dose of the injected insulin injection by 30%, having previously discussed this with the doctor.
  • Sweet juice will help to cope with the hypoglycemia that has arisen. It contains carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed.

Exercise is only allowed after consulting a doctor. It is best not to do them if your blood sugar is high.

When sugar values ​​exceed 17 mmol / l, you cannot engage in physical education, otherwise the condition will worsen significantly. Also, the diabetic needs to distribute the activity for the day. The best option is to draw up a certain schedule of loads (morning exercises, intensive exercises 2 hours after lunch).

Diet for type 1 diabetes

A person with type 1 diabetes needs to adjust their diet by removing junk food and adding healthy foods. Diet with diabetes means reducing fast carbohydrates, which are replaced by slow ones. It is not recommended to eat fried, fatty foods with type 1 diabetes, if there are concomitant diseases associated with blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, heart. The optimal amount of XE (grain units – carbohydrates) at one time is 7. One XE contains carbohydrates in an amount of about 10 grams. So much fits into a slice of bread, the thickness of which does not exceed a centimeter. Diabetics are advised to eat three times a day and have two small snacks. To get acquainted with this issue in more detail, you need to consult with a dietitian and endocrinologist. They will select the right amount of food, the dosage of insulin injections and other issues related to the disease. People who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes should be careful about their diet. The food should be balanced and nutritious. However, such food is not always suitable for diabetics, as it contains a large amount of sugar and other substances that increase blood glucose levels. People with type 1 diabetes are advised to switch to a low-carb diet. This will help keep blood sugar under control and prevent problems from occurring. Significant harm to the body of a person with type 1 diabetes comes from the daily and frequent consumption of food saturated with carbohydrates (with the exception of fiber). They negatively affect blood sugar levels, constantly increasing it. And sometimes even the introduction of an injection of insulin (for example, Humalog ) can not solve this problem . For your own health, it is better to completely exclude carbohydrate foods from the diet in order to avoid undesirable consequences. This is one of the most important things in a nutritional change. It is recommended to eat mainly protein foods and those that contain fats (natural). Some doctors advise switching from regular food to diet number 9. It contains meals from low-fat, low-calorie foods. However, as recent studies have shown, the principle of this diet is not so beneficial for diabetics. And to be sure of this, it is enough to use a glucometer . People with type 1 diabetes use XE to count the amount of carbohydrates in a dish. One such unit of bread contains about 10 grams of carbohydrates. People with type 1 diabetes need to eat three times a day (interval 3-4 hours), subject to the introduction of rapid insulin. Do not inject ultra-short and short injections at the same time. Snacking is permitted but not recommended. Eating a small amount of food 5 times in one day is not suitable for those who want to keep sugar levels in the norm all the time without any changes.

Eliminating more carbohydrates from the diet makes it much easier to control sugars. To reduce the symptoms of severe disease, dietary adjustments are required. Moreover, in the morning, evening and afternoon it is recommended to eat the same foods in equal proportions. Every person with type 1 diabetes chooses the necessary and healthy food for themselves.

At first, mistakes are indispensable, of course. To simplify the determination of the amount of carbohydrates in grams in a particular dish, it is recommended to purchase a small scale (kitchen).

Before taking the next portion of food, you need to wait 3-4 hours. Breakfast – after waking up, dinner – a few hours before going to bed (preferably 4-5 hours). If you eat something at night, then there is a high probability of an increase in blood glucose levels in the morning (even a night insulin injection will not solve this problem). Severe overeating (even healthy foods) also sometimes negatively affects the condition of a patient with type 1 diabetes. Food simply compresses the stomach walls, which provokes the formation of incretins – hormones that increase blood sugar levels.

Type 1 diabetes drugs

The main treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin administration. Tablet forms of drugs are indicated only for the treatment of the second type of diabetes. But the doctor may prescribe metformin- based medications . This substance helps to reduce weight, normalize metabolism. And if obesity became the cause of diabetes, then taking metformin is necessarily included in the treatment plan. What preparations contain this substance:

  • Siofor ;
  • Glucophage ;
  • Galvus Met.

Additionally, diabetics are prescribed vitamin and mineral complexes to maintain immunity, improve metabolism. Care must be taken when selecting vitamins for people with type 1 diabetes. An incorrectly selected remedy can only harm, and not improve the clinical picture of the disease. Dietary supplements (biologically active additives) act as an additional source of vitamins that are necessary for the normal functioning of the human body (especially diabetics). These supplements contain minerals and elements that can reduce the risk of a particular complication of type 1 diabetes. Components such as are especially useful for a diabetic:

  • Vitamins of group B. Thanks to their effect, the state of the central nervous system improves against the background of type 1 diabetes. The functioning is stable and undisturbed. 
  • Vitamin H. A sufficient amount of this element in the body allows you to “take a break” from insulin injections, that is, they do not need to be injected very often. 
  • Vitamin A. This component is used to improve visual acuity, reduce the risk of diseases associated with the destruction of the retina. 
  • Vitamin E. If there is not enough of this element in the body of a person with type 1 diabetes, then it is not recommended to postpone the solution of this problem for too long. Otherwise, the body will need more insulin. 
  • Ascorbic acid. It has a beneficial effect on the state of blood vessels and reduces the risk of certain diseases, which are characteristic of diabetics who do not take due care of their health. 

If a person wants to constantly consume flour products and sweets, then this indicates that there is a shortage of some component in his body or the diet is not drawn up correctly. In any case, doctors advise drinking a course of vitamins containing chromium (this element helps not to consume too much prohibited food, which is better to refuse altogether). In order not to be mistaken with a choice and not to harm your health even more, it is recommended to visit a doctor. He will help you choose the right vitamins or supplements and will tell you in detail what substances are harmful for a person with type 1 diabetes, and what are useful. In type 1 diabetes, taking one vitamin is not enough. Doctors advise buying special complexes that contain all the necessary trace elements and other substances. The dosage of the drug is prescribed by the doctor. You cannot calculate it yourself.

Prevention of type 1 diabetes

Like some other diseases, type 1 diabetes can appear due to impaired functioning of the central nervous system. When a person is often under stress, his nerves become loose. And this, in turn, sometimes leads to the development of type 1 or 2 diabetes. This was the opinion of the English psychologist who lived in America, Dale Carnegie. Therefore, it is required to avoid negative moods and situations that provoke the onset of stress. Distraction with positive things helps a lot in this. Proper nutrition plays an important role in the prevention of type 1 diabetes. It is recommended to give up the use of sweet products and eat them in small quantities only with low sugar. It is also necessary to partially exclude carbohydrate foods from the diet. We must not forget about replenishing the daily water balance. It also plays an important role in diabetes management. Doing moderate exercise every day has a positive effect on human health. If a person eats incorrectly and physical education is completely absent in his life, then soon it will play a cruel joke with him. It is recommended to visit a doctor several times a year. This will help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes. It is advisable to be examined in the hospital twice a year. The sooner you start treating diabetes (preventing symptoms), the better your condition will be.

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